In April, the University of Arkansas became the first school in the country to admit the obvious: Procedures promulgated in 2020 by former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos might have prevented an unjust finding of guilt in a campus sexual-assault case. In a letter to a student identified only as John Doe, the university’s coordinator for Title IX—the 1972 law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in any educational institution that receives federal money—acknowledged that, “given the closeness of the evidence in the case, the revised procedures could have led to a different outcome” for Doe. “Different outcome” is a euphemism for exoneration, avoiding a conviction by a star chamber that could have ruined this young person’s life.
Doe’s lawsuit arose out of an October 2017 incident. A female student, attending a campus party, commenced a text exchange with Doe, a casual acquaintance. The two decided to hang out, and the female student texted that she would take an Uber to Doe’s residence. She arrived and the two students had sex. At this point, the accounts diverged. The female student claimed she was incapacitated by alcohol and could not have consented. Doe said she consented but got angry when he told her afterward that he wanted to go meet friends.